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WB Post Poll Violence: Calcutta High Court Seeks State's Response On Plea Seeking Compensation For Alleged Victims

Aaratrika Bhaumik
20 April 2022 3:34 PM GMT
WB Post Poll Violence: Calcutta High Court Seeks States Response On Plea Seeking Compensation For Alleged Victims
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The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday took on record the latest status report filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) pertaining to the progress of the investigation with regards to cases of violence that had allegedly taken place post the declaration of the West Bengal assembly elections in May 2021. The Court vide order dated August 19,...

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday took on record the latest status report filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) pertaining to the progress of the investigation with regards to cases of violence that had allegedly taken place post the declaration of the West Bengal assembly elections in May 2021. The Court vide order dated August 19, 2021 had handed over to the CBI the investigation of cases related to murder, rape and crime against women whereas a SIT had been constituted to investigate other criminal cases related to post-poll violence.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj also sought the State government's response on a plea seeking issuance of directions to the State government to formulate a policy for granting compensation to the victims of post poll violence so that such victims can be given compensation in a time bound manner. 

It may be noted that the Court vide order dated August 19, 2021 had directed the State of West Bengal to immediately process the compensation for the victims of the post-poll violence. Furthermore, the Court back in October, 2021 had also reprimanded the State for not having proceeded the compensation for the victims of the post-poll violence by remarking that such conduct shows 'total casual attitude in a serious manner'. 

On Wednesday, the Bench directed Advocate General S.N Mookherjee to file an affidavit-in-opposition to such a plea on the next date of hearing.

The Court also took on record the fifth status report filed by the CBI. The Court was apprised by the counsel appearing for the CBI that as on April 16, 58 cases have been registered and out of the 58 cases, 47 of them have been received from the NHRC. 

Furthermore, the Court was apprised by the CBI that 11 cases have been registered based upon individual complaints and in 26 cases chargesheets have been filed. The report filed further stipulated that in 20 cases further investigation is required and that 6 cases have been transferred from the SIT to the CBI as mandated pursuant to the Court's earlier directions. It was further averred that 26 cases are under investigation and that 224 arrests have been made. 

The counsel for the CBI further submitted that a representation had been made vide letter dated January 6, 2022 to the West Bengal's Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Malviya requesting him to hand over two other cases pertaining to the category of cases that the CBI had been entrusted to investigate as per the Court's earlier orders. The two cases pertain to the 2021 Sitalkuchi firing in West Bengal where 4 people had been allegedly killed in Central Industrial Security Force firing at a polling booth at Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar district. 

He further submitted that two reminder letters dated January 21 and March 11 had also been sent however the DGP, West Bengal had failed to respond to them. 

Taking cognisance of the grievance raised, the Court directed the CBI to send a copy of the representation to the Advocate General and further directed the Advocate General to respond to the same and further apprise the Court about it on the next date of hearing. 

The counsel for the SIT also handed over the latest status report to the Court and further averred that as on April 18, 35 cases have been received from the CBI for investigation. The Court was also apprised that in 31 cases chargesheets have been filed, in 1 case closure report has been filed and that 1 case is under investigation. 

The Court accordingly directed both the CBI and the SIT to file further status reports on the next date of hearing. 

It may be noted that the Court on Wednesday also constituted a three member committee to conduct an enquiry into the allegation that over 303 victims have been displaced due to the post-poll violence in West Bengal. The 3 member committee shall comprise of (i) a member/ nominee of the National Human Rights Commission; (ii) a member/ nominee of State Human Rights Commission; and (iii) Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority.

Case Title: Anindya Sundar Das v. Union of India and other connected matters

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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